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The Mikhailovsky Ballet Presents "The Flames of Paris" at the David H. Koch Theater
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The Mikhailovsky Ballet Presents "The Flames of Paris" at the David H. Koch Theater

- Onstage with the Dancers

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Presents:

The Mikhailovsky Ballet
www.mikhailovsky.ru/en

The Flames of Paris
Ballet in Three Acts

Vladimir Kekhman, General Director, Mikhailovsky Theatre
Michael Tatarnikov, Musical Director and Principal Conductor
Nacho Duato, Resident Choreographer
Mikhail Messerer, Ballet Master in Chief
Andrey Kuligin, Company Manager
Evgeny Popov, Ballet Master
Michael Vool, Production Manager
Andrew Hill, Lighting Supervisor
KPM Associates, Kevin P. McAnarney, Press

In Performances at the David H. Koch Theater
At Lincoln Center
www.lincolncenter.org

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 14, 2014


The Flames of Paris (Mikhailovsky Premiere, 2013): Music by Boris Asafiev, Libretto by Volkov and Dimitriev, revised by Messerer, after the novel, Les Rouges du Midi, by Felix Gras, Choreography by Vasily Vaynonen, revised by Messerer, Stage and Costume Design by Vladimir, Dmitriev, Staging by Mikhail Messerer, Musical Director, Valery Ovsyanikov, Revival of the Stage and Costume Design, Vyacheslav Okunev, Lighting Design by Alexander Kibitkin, Producer, Dmitry Astafyev and Dr. Habil, General Partner, LenSpecStroy Limited Company, Conductor, Pavel Bubelnikov, Performed by Ivan Vasiliev, Irina Perren, Leonid Sarafanov, Oksana Bondareva, Alla Matveyeva, Veronika Ignatyeva, Mariam Ugrekhelidze, Andrey Kasyanenko, Zvezdana Martina, Alexey Malakhov, Mikhail Venshchikov, Alexandra Baturina, Roman Petukhov, and the Company.

After a glorious night, earlier this week, experiencing the Mikhailovsky Ballet’s Giselle, I must offer kudos to Vladimir Kekhman, General Director, and Mikhail Messerer, Ballet Master in Chief, for their astounding success with this relatively newly reconstructed company. The company dances with enthusiasm, verve, poise, energy, and pathos, expanding the drama of each story, and filling the stage with virtuosic talent. I can’t wait for the next program after tonight’s The Flames of Paris, after again seeing Ivan Vasiliev, who has been a guest and principal with American Ballet Theatre. He dances with pyrotechnic ardor, achieving instantaneous twirls and taut finales to his stage dervish. He grabs the audience’s attention the second he arrives and rivets it until he leaves, over and over, even through multiple curtain calls. As one might say, he eats the stage. His longtime dance partner, Natalia Osipova, starred in the opening night of the Mikhailovsky’s Giselle and will dance with Mr. Vasiliev in Don Quixote at the end of this run.

In many galas and ballet competitions, New Yorkers have seen the pas de deux from Act III of The Flames of Paris, but this is the first time the three-act ballet has been presented in this country. The audience was breathless and well rewarded. Tonight Leonid Sarafanov glowed, with elegance, presence, and ebullient energy, as Antoine Mistral, an actor. He partners Irina Perren, as Diana Mireille, an actress, as they perform an intermezzo about Cupid’s victims, at a ball in the king’s palace. It’s 1792, the time of the French Revolution. Vasily Vaynonen, choreographer, has created this ballet as a metaphor for the Russian Revolution. Asaf Messerer, uncle of Mikhail Messerer, who revised this ballet, starred in the earlier version of Flames. Act I first takes place in a suburb of Marseille (danced of course to a large, flag-waving, street ensemble, to the tune of “La Marseillaise”. Boris Asafiev composed the full ballet score. Act I moves to the palace and its sumptuous ball with chandeliers (the enormous traveling scenery is a feat in itself).

Act II proceeds to arm the revolutionaries, now in Paris, who then storm the ball. A fairly bloodless battle emerges, with Teresa (Mariam Ugrekhelidze) being shot. Act III is the big audience entertainment, with Philippe (Mr. Vasiliev) and Jeanne (Oksana Bondareva) marrying, with choreographic fireworks, solo and duo, including Mr. Vasiliev walking about the stage seeming to carry his bride in one hand. There’s little suspense or plot, even though it’s a renowned revolution. The ballet is about the star and ensemble choreography, plus gorgeous street scenes and ball. It’s truly “the tale of two cities”, to quote the title of Dickens’ revolutionary novel. The original stage and costume design by Vladimir Dmitriev was revised by Vyacheslav Okunev, with eye-catching results. The French revolution’s flag is almost the size of half the stage, waved buoyantly by Teresa and Philippe. Ms. Ugrekhelidze’s Teresa dances with vivacity and theatricality. Ms. Bondareva’s Jeanne, as well, is stunning and sensational.

Obviously the Mikhailovsky has located top talent throughout Russia, and its Corps attests to the rising solo talent in the wings. Roman Petukhov, as Gaspar, the peasant father of Jeanne, danced with persuasive characterization. The Marquis, King Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette were, respectively, Mikhail Venshchikov, Alexey Malakhov, and Alla Matveyeva, all adorned splendidly in iconic, Tuileries Palace attire. Cupid, Veronika Ignatyeva, was ethereal and endearing. The company danced as The Basques, The Auvergnese, and the allegoric dances of Freedom, Equality, and Fraternity, plus Gamekeepers, Marseillais, Parisians, Courtiers, and Officers. There was even an enormous batch of stage supernumeraries. Pavel Bubelnikov conducted with pulse and joy, as Teresa, Jeanne, and especially Philippe periodically owned the stage, as well as all the air above. Once again, Mr. Vasiliev drew vocal accolades throughout the evening and well into curtain calls. Kudos to all.



Ivan Vasiliev and the Company of
The Mikhailovsky Ballet
in "The Flames of Paris"
Courtesy of Costas



Leonid Sarafanov and the Company of
The Mikhailovsky Ballet
in "The Flames of Paris"
Courtesy of Costas



The Mikhailovsky Ballet
in "The Flames of Paris"
Courtesy of Costas



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net